«Comparative Study and ‘Outcome and Impact’ Analysis of Six Vocational Training Projects in West Africa Synthesis report based on six case ...»
Only one partner (LOIC) offers facilities for child care. The two apprenticeship schemes do not exclude mothers with young children but they expect that someone in the family takes care of the children. Most of the master trainers do not accept that mothers bring their children to the work place, but some handle the issue more flexible. In one case (female master trainer) trainees brought their babies along. Formal VTIs function like a school; they do not accept young mothers. SLOIC has no possibilities for child care.
Relevance in the context of peace and conflict
Peace and conflict issues apply particularly to LOIC and SLOIC. Both institutions are situated in countries that have experienced long periods of civil war. The partners in Nigeria are situated in areas which have experienced conflicts between Christians and Muslims and high rates of violent crime.
Both SLOIC and LOIC have contributed to reintegration of ex-combatants and war effected youth in the past years. Both institutions have developed specific offers for psycho-social counselling and mediation. YOWDAST has integrated elements of conflict prevention in the skills acquisition project and is taking measures to enrol Muslims and cooperates with Muslim communities. MTS is practically only enrolling Christians.
Relevance with regard to poverty alleviation
Vocational skills development has the potential to alleviate poverty if it is effective with regard to employment and income generation (see under effectiveness) and if the approaches used do not exclude the poor. Formal VTI (two partners) do not reach the very poor because of the costs and the educational entry requirements. The conditions of the other projects and
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institutions are more conducive to the poor. The apprenticeship schemes are rather providing incentives than barriers; the only excluding factors in the case of YOWDAST may be the costs for travelling and accommodation, if someone is trained outside his/ her home community.
YOWDAST has taken steps to bring the training options closer to the people. OICG is purposely targeting illiterates and semi-literates, but focusing on this group may cause stigmatisation, which might be a reason for the low demand.
Insufficient market orientation and quality of practical training are limiting factors for achieving greater impacts. Another limiting factor is the efficiency of most programmes, especially the relatively high costs of training per trainee, which limits outreach.
3.3 Selection and reaching of target groups
Criteria for assessing the selection and reaching of target groups were the following:
• Enrolment trends vs. growth of youth population • Reaching of poor and marginalised groups • Gender equality • Obstacles to fair access such as fees, excluding elements in entrance requirements (e.g.
education), religion, ethnicity • Involvement of communities in selection • Involvement of other stakeholders (private sector, collaborating organisations, MFIs) in selection
In all the four countries, the youth population has been increasing (see table 3). There is no uniform trend in enrolment among the six partners, but on the whole, enrolment has been
rather stagnant than increasing. According to pre-study information compiled by partners:
• SLOIC number of trainees declined from 872 in 2003 to 601 in 2007 and increased to 69011 in 2009 (overall decline approx. 20%).
• In the case of VTF, five of the seven VTI have experienced declining enrolment (two of the five significant decline), in one VTI, the enrolment was stagnant, in one it increased.
• The two partners in Nigeria experienced moderate growth in demand.
The case study VTF indicates that (1) the stigma of TVET and the aspiration for white collar jobs and (2) the competition of VTI with informal apprenticeship especially in the conventional trade areas are major reasons for declining enrolment. A third factor is the cost of the training. Incentives play a key role in influencing demand, especially in poor environments. In Sierra Leone, social demand in the past was influenced by incentives attached to training such as WFP food allowance packages and “resettlement kits” (tools and According to case study report.
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equipment provided for free at the end of training). The decline of enrolment might be in relation to the phasing out of the incentives. In the case of OICG the cause for declining demand is more difficult to detect, it may be related to the stigmata caused by targeting a specific group (illiterate youth).
Reaching of the poor
The majority of the partners say in their funding proposals that they target poor unemployed youth.
The following factors are thought to exclude the poor from VT:
• Senior secondary education as an entry requirement
• Fees charged, where there are no formal fees charged, requirements for uniforms, purchase of training materials
• The long duration of formal VT courses Education as a selection criterion is particularly critical in countries where the majority of the youth population has no equal access to secondary schooling and where females have less access to education than men. The former is the case in war affected countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia) and in marginalised regions of some countries (e.g. the North East of Nigeria) while the latter is the case in most countries. SLOIC and LOIC offer non-formal VT programmes where education is no selection criterion except for some trades (electrics and agriculture (!) in Bo). The same applies to improved apprenticeship schemes (OICG, YOW-DAST). MTS in Nigeria is the only partner which targets graduates of senior secondary schools. The partners of VTF select graduates of junior secondary schools (nine years of school). It is assumed that a person who was able to attend nine to twelve years of school does not belong to the very poor unless he/she has received sponsorship.
School fees are the most significant factor that excludes the poor from education and vocational training. For church based VTI, self financing is a critical factor. In Ghana the VTF supported VTI charge from 140€ a year (without boarding) to 310€ a year (with boarding).
For a family living below the poverty line of 2€ a day per person, such a fee is beyond means.
The declining enrolment rate discussed above may be directly linked to the issue of costs. In the case of the non-formal providers, fees are not charged (LOIC) or the fees are relatively low (SLOIC). Both of the improved apprenticeship programmes do not charge fees. YOWDAST expects self-contributions (transport, rent in case the training place is not identical with the place of living); on the other hand both programmes offer financial incentives (fees for informal apprenticeship paid by project). MTS charges fees equal to the level of government secondary schools.
Equality, reaching of marginalised groups
Equality means that all ethnic, religious and social groups living in the catchment area have equal access. Reaching marginalised groups means that VT projects/ programmes are open to include (or specifically target) disadvantaged ethnic or religious groups or groups of young people that are disadvantaged because of their educational or social background.
The only partner that is purposely targeting school drop outs and illiterates is OICG. This target group focus however carries the risk of stigmatisation which potentially effects demand.
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YOWDAST has taken serious steps to include the Muslim population into the programme, although Christians make up for the majority. The EED sponsored programmes of SLOIC and LOIC are open to all, both institutions are church affiliated but not faith-based. Both took part in the effort to reintegrate ex-combatants. The policy of catering only to ex-combatants (as sponsored by EU and other donors) tended to create an atmosphere of mistrust. The approach followed with the EED sponsored projects was inspired by do-no-harm considerations of not making a distinction between ex-combatants and other war affected youth. MTS is a faith based institution with Christian religion being a compulsory subject. It can be assumed that the background of the institution (being founded by a missionary) and its Christian orientation prevents Muslims from enrolling.
Three partners (VTF, OICG and YOWDAST) specifically target women (VTF), give clear preference to women (OICG) or have a majority of women enrolled (YOWDAST). In LOIC, SLOIC and MTS women are in the minority. LOIC and MTS have the lowest percentage of female trainees (approx. 30%).
The training options for women are not equal to those for men. First of all, few women enrol in typical male dominated trades, even if the option exists. Furthermore, the “female trades” often face market saturation, are traditionally less well paid and have thus less income opportunities. In OICG for instance women enrol in dress making, catering, hair braiding and palm oil production while men (who constitute only 20% of the trainees) have at least five trade options which offer far better income opportunities. At LOIC only tailoring and tie-dye are offered as typical women trades. The tracer study revealed that not even a single woman was self-employed. In Ghana many young women received training in catering. However, out of 468 women interviewed only 36% are wage employed in this field. The reason for the low effectiveness of this type of training is lack of employment opportunities and very low wages.
Involvement of communities in selection
Except for YOWDAST none of the EED partners actively involve communities and other religious groups in the selection process. In LOIC and SLOIC, communities are represented in the Board of Governance, play some role in land distribution but are not involved in the selection process. Faith based institutions tend to advertise courses through their own church, which pre-determines the scope of selection. The community involvement practiced by YOWDAST is thought to be one of the success factors of this programme and its wide outreach. On the other hand, giving communities a free hand in selection without critically counter checking projects which provide incentives (e.g. the apprenticeship schemes) carries the risk of biased support and even misuse.
Involvement of other stakeholders in selection None of the partners involve other collaborating stakeholders in the selection. None of the projects/ programmes are closely cooperating with Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).
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3.4 Quality of VT programmes This section of the report deals extensively with a range of quality issues. The issues ad-dressed originate from the ToR but also from widely acknowledge “good practice”. For in-stance the practical orientation of vocational training, the linking of trade and soft skills as well as the cooperation of training providers with the private sector are quality criteria commonly accepted in TVET. The criteria used for assessment in this comparative study are the
1. Satisfaction of target group with the training provided
2. Drop out rate
3. Degree to which labour market demand is assessed, analysed and results are used for planning of training programmes (selection of trades and concepts)
4. Appropriateness of facilities
5. Standards applied in training:
• Quality of curricula used, adherence with national standards • Practical orientation of the training • Integration of entrepreneurship training • Organisation and quality of industry/ private sector attachment or internship (only for centre based training) • Integration of “soft” or “life skills” in curricula • Counselling
6. Capacities of teachers/ instructors and quality of instruction, methodologies
7. Cooperation with community and parents as key stakeholders
8. Cooperation with private sector (micro and small enterprise) and interface with other actors
9. Post training measures for employment promotion
10. Systems and practices applied for quality management, monitoring and evaluation Satisfaction with training provided Satisfaction of trainees/ graduates with the training provided was assessed through the tracer studies and through Focus Group Discussions.
On average 47% of the graduates interviewed during the tracer study said that their expectation in the training course was fully met, 21% said mostly met (together 68%) and 31% said met by 50%. Only a very small minority (1%) said the training was poor. The results of the tracer study have been largely confirmed through the FGD where the majority of trainees and graduates were satisfied with the training quality and with the qualification of teachers and instructors.
No clear trends can be identified when comparing the different VT approaches. Results vary from one partner to the other, which may be attributed to subjectivity in the responses given.
Approximately one third said “met by 50%”, which is an indication that the quality of training needs some improvement. In FGD, trainees in VTIs said that more focus should be given to practical training. Many trainees in apprenticeship schemes (which last up to 12 months) said that the training period is too short especially in the technical trades (e.g. automotive repair).
Both in apprenticeship and in attachment, „making contacts“ was stated as an important benefit, sometime it was more important than the practical skills learned.
Satisfaction of employers with skills of graduates
Except in the case study of LOIC, it was not possible to interview employers. According to the
few interviewed, major problems with new graduates from technical schools are the following:
• Weak trade (practical) skills • “Don’t care attitude” towards work These results are not representative.
Drop out rate